The debate of the millennial moms, who are about to start feeding solids. Whether to baby feed or do baby led weaning? What is better? What is recommended?
What is Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?
This is a method of introducing foods that put the control on the baby to explore their foods, textures and feed themselves. The idea is to put the soft, easily mushable, foods (such as cooked carrots, bananas, overcooked pasta, steamed broccoli, etc.) directly on the baby’s feeding area. Then you let them have at it. They may play and some may even make it in their mouth. The objective is to let them learn to explore putting food in their mouth and learn that way vs. the traditional baby food (purees) fed by the parents.
What are benefits to BLW?
Some experts believe that, through baby-led weaning, you limit the chances of having picky eaters because they are introduced to nutritious finger foods from the start. There is also the argument that the child is able to join in on family meal time sooner and a have a better acceptance of foods being eaten, as they are eaten as a family. Others say that it eliminates the step of having to go from purees to later introducing them to actual foods, which may cause resistance due to changes in texture.
What are the risks to BLW?
If you want to try this method, your baby must be ready to chew and swallow whole food. If they are unable to do so, you will want to start off with liquid or runny food first, and pureed foods may be the best bet in this case.
The other thing to take note of is, even if your baby is able to feed themselves, they may not be able to take in the amount of nutrients or calories they need with this method from the get-go. So you must be diligent to watch for signs they are still hungry. You may need to top off with breastmilk, formula, or even feed pureed foods alongside it.
Should I be doing BLW?
There is no right or wrong. If you are curious about BLW and you feel your child is ready to swallow foods, by all means, go ahead. You will be exposing them to a skill they will
If you are curious about BLW and you feel your child is ready to swallow foods, by all means, go ahead. You will be exposing them to a skill they will eventually need to learn and may increase their love for food. However, if you are unsure if they are ready, or want to ensure they are full, by all means, supplement the BLW with purees. Or perhaps start off with purees, and then switch to baby led.
At the end of the day, you know what is best for your baby. Whatever you decide, make sure to snap pictures…this stage is definitely great to capture whether spoon fed or doing it all on their own.
*Images courtesy of ShutterStock.com